Reports say that Michael Bloomberg’s decision not to enter the 2020 presidential field has only made it that much more likely that former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will launch an independent bid for the White House. Schultz has made a lot of noise (and a lot of enemies) over the past couple of months about running, and it doesn’t seem as though a chorus of left-wing boos is going to stop him. In fact, judging by his appearance at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin this weekend, he seems more determined than ever to shake the Democratic Party and scream: You’re going too far to the left!
But is anyone listening?
“For us to start moving towards a level of socialism is such an extreme position and something that is inconsistent with the values, the heritage, and the tradition of the country,” said Schultz at the festival. “And that is what Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and others are proposing to try and defeat Donald Trump with a far extreme proposal.”
Schultz warned that President Trump would be re-elected if one of the party’s far-left candidates turned out to be the last man standing after the primaries. “The vast majority of Americans,” he predicted, “are not going to embrace socialism.”
“Going back to the Green New Deal, in the Green New Deal there is a proposal that says that by 2030 every building in America is going to be transformed to clean energy. Now, that’s a well-intentioned idea but it’s never going to happen,” he said. “Let’s propose things that are true, that are honest, that are sincere, and that are realistic.”
Appearing at the same festival where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was cheered for declaring capitalism an “irredeemable system,” Schultz said that Democrats should be more forthright and honest about their moonshot proposals.
“So these proposals about Medicare for all, and free college, and a government job for everybody, that is not free,” he said. “So someone is going to have to pay for that and that means that taxes for everyone are going to have to go up or someone’s going to have to wave a magic wand and do something that doesn’t exist but that has to be paid for by somebody and the difficulty in trying to pay for any of that is we’re sitting with 22 trillion dollars of debt that has to be addressed.”
Oh no, we’re just going to tax the hell out of a handful of evil billionaires, and then we’ll magically be able to afford everything we want and then some! Why did no one ever think of this before?
The Democrats are probably right when they predict that a Schultz candidacy would result in Trump’s second term, but they ought to consider exactly why that is. Is it simply the fact of having a third-party candidate who veers closer to Democrats than Republicans? Or is it because Schultz is spelling out some ugly truths about the direction of your party?